6.6/10
1,544
20 user 9 critic

Scared Stiff (1953)

Approved | | Comedy, Horror, Musical | 27 April 1953 (USA)
Fleeing a murder charge, a busboy and a nightclub singer wind up on a spooky Caribbean island inherited by an heiress.

Director:

George Marshall

Writers:

Herbert Baker (screenplay), Walter DeLeon (screenplay) | 4 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dean Martin ... Larry Todd
Jerry Lewis ... Myron Mertz
Lizabeth Scott ... Mary Carroll
Carmen Miranda ... Carmelita Castinha
George Dolenz ... Mr. Cortega
Dorothy Malone ... Rosie
William Ching ... Tony Warren
Paul Marion Paul Marion ... Ramon Cariso / Francisco Cariso
Jack Lambert ... Zombie
Tony Barr Tony Barr ... Trigger
Leonard Strong ... Shorty
Henry Brandon ... Pierre
Hugh Sanders ... Cop on Pier
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Storyline

Nightclub singer Larry Todd breaks off his romance with a beautiful showgirl when he realizes she's the girlfriend of a murderously jealous gangster. While on the run, Larry mistakenly believes he kills one of the mobsters and is helped to escape police by heiress Mary Carol, who smuggles Larry and partner Myron to Cuba. Mary has inherited a haunted castle on an isolated island and, ignoring ominous warnings and threats, decides to take possession. While there, the trio hunt for a hidden treasure and encounter a ghost, a zombie, and a mysterious killer. Written by duke1029

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They're funnier than ever on the GIANT PANORAMIC SCREEN With Stereophonic Sound See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 April 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Starr vor Angst See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Wallis-Hazen See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

3 Channel Stereo (Western Electric Recording) (5.0) (L-R)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was composed in the 1.37 aspect ratio. During that year widescreen became popular, so Paramount allowed it to be released in 1.66 ratio, Panoramic Screen. Other films were also released in this incorrect ratio that year, according to Bob Furmanek at 3dfilmarchive. Considering the placement of heads in the compositions, the cropping may have been of the top area rather than the middle. See more »

Goofs

At the club Mary receives a note from Larry that he can't make the date, she writes on (what looks like a show bill) three words (two on top line one on bottom) quickly scrawled but when we see a close up its written very clearly it reads: "Forgive me for running away-" See more »

Quotes

Mary Carol: You killed a perfect stranger?
Larry Todd: Nobody's perfect!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Silver Screen: Color Me Lavender (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

When Someone Wonderful Thinks You're Wonderful
(uncredited)
Written by Mack David and Jerry Livingston
Sung by Dean Martin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
OK remake - OK Martin-Lewis vehicle!
3 November 2006 | by benoit-3See all my reviews

I'm a Jerry Lewis fan and I think Bob Hope's «The Ghost Breakers» (1940) was technically way ahead of its time as a funny/scary Old Dark House comedy. This thirteen-years-later remake feels like it was hatched together as a quickie Martin-Lewis vehicle in the «scary» mode (they made four films that year). It reuses the same director (George Marshall), most of the dialogue, most of the situations, most of the special effects, all the stock footage and even one song from the original. The sets have also been recreated and the jokes «updated». If the remake works at all, it is due to the extreme quality and originality of the first film. Comedy writer Norman Lear (of TV fame) did his best in adapting the Bob Hope/Willie Best routine to the particular talents of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

Where the story starts to creak though is in the scary scenes. They have lost their suspense and mystery and that undefinable mix of editing, timing, lighting, photography, acting, pacing and music called «atmosphere», which «The Ghost Breakers» had in spades.

The casting is also lacking: Lizabeth Scott is no Paulette Goddard. She may look good in a bathing suit but her comedy is stilted, her romantic moods are too entranced and her dramatics don't convince. William Ching is no Richard Carlson, Paul Marion is no Anthony Quinn and George Dolenz is no Paul Lukas either. The zombie character is also a special disappointment all its own. Out of a misguided sense of political correctness, the original Black zombie (Noble Johnson) has been replaced by a nondescript White (!) cowboy villain (!!) (Jack Lambert) who actually looks like an ordinary Joe (!!!) without makeup (!!!!) from a distance. His entrance actually causes crickets to start chirping.

All in all, I appreciate this film as a kind of homage to the original, for its numerous Jerry Lewis set pieces, in which he exhibits a supreme self-confidence, and for the Dean Martin songs - despite the near-obscenity of the «Enchilada Man» number (you can imagine but don't ask!)... The less said about the Carmen Miranda numbers the better (this was her last film).


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